Securities Law Prof Blog

Editor: Eric C. Chaffee
Univ. of Toledo College of Law

Monday, November 16, 2009

SEC Proposes Amendments to "Dark Pools" of Liquidity

The SEC is proposing to amend the regulatory requirements of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 (“Exchange Act”) that apply to non-public trading interest in National Market System (“NMS”) stocks, including so-called “dark pools” of liquidity. First, it is proposing to amend the definition of “bid” or “offer” in Exchange Act quoting requirements to apply expressly to actionable indications of interest (“IOIs”) privately transmitted by dark pools and other trading venues to selected market participants. The proposed definition would exclude, however, IOIs for large sizes that are transmitted in the context of a targeted size discovery mechanism. Second, the Commission is proposing amendments to the display obligations of alternative trading systems (“ATSs”) in Regulation ATS under the Exchange Act, including a substantial lowering of the trading volume threshold in Regulation ATS that triggers public display obligations for ATSs. Third, the Commission is proposing to amend the joint-industry plans for publicly disseminating consolidated trade data to require real-time disclosure of the identity of dark pools and other ATSs on the reports of their executed trades. The proposals are intended to promote the Exchange Act goals of transparency, fairness, and efficiency.  Comments are due 90 days after publication in the Federal Register.

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